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Newspapers are frequently below the standard of pure English; the pupil should therefore bear in mind that words are not to be accepted simply because they are used by the morning journals.
In addition to the use of pure, grammatical English, the qualities of style to be cultivated by a writer of news are accuracy, condensation, and clearness.
1. Accuracy in a news item has a twofold signification. The language should accurately convey the meaning which the writer intends, and the facts themselves should be undeniable. A careful selection of words, and a proper construction of sentences, will enable the writer to express himself so that his meaning can not be mistaken.
2. Condensation requires that the writer should give his information in the briefest manner consistent with clearness of statement. It does not imply that he should suppress the details of an occurrence, for these the reader will demand. He should, however, state a fact but once, and that in concise language.
3. Clearness is most imperatively demanded of a news writer. People read news in haste, hence the meaning should be so plain that "he may run that readeth it."
The business of writing news is very different from that of writing editorials. The one simply records the facts of the day; the other discusses those facts, and gives opinions about them, commending or condemning, explaining or defending, persuading and exhorting, assigning causes and suggesting remedies. es. The one writes with special reference to accuracy, clearness, and brevity; the other employs almost every grace and excellence of style known to rhetoric, and needs for his task a knowledge as varied as the entire range of subjects included in the scope of his paper.
EXERCISES IN PARAPHRASE AND COMPOSITION.
AMONG the dwellers in the silent fields
The natural heart is touched, and public way
Whom, since her birth on bleak Northumbria's coast,
A single Act endears to high and low
Through the whole land-to Manhood, moved in spite
Save in the rolls of heaven, where hers may live
The high-souled virtues which forgetful earth
Has witnessed. Oh! that winds and waves could speak Of things which their united power called forth
From the pure depths of her humanity!
Firm and unflinching as the Light-house reared
* * *
All night the storm had raged, nor ceased, nor paused, When, as day broke, the Maid, through misty air, Espies far off a Wreck amid the surf, Beating on one of those disastrous isles— Half of a Vessel, half-no more; the rest Had vanished, swallowed up with all that there Had for the common safety striven in vain,
Or thither thronged for refuge. With quick glance
Where every parting agony is hushed,
And hope and fear mix not in further strife.
A few may yet be saved." The Daughter's words,
Each grasps an oar, and struggling on they go-
Here to elude and there surmount, they watch
True to the mark, They stem the current of that perilous gorge, Their arms still strengthening with the strengthening heart, Though danger, as the Wreck is neared, becomes More imminent. Not unseen do they approach; And rapture, with varieties of fear Incessantly conflicting, thrills the frames Of those who, in that dauntless energy, Foretaste deliverance; but the least perturbed Can scarcely trust his eyes, when he perceives That of the pair-tossed on the waves to bring Hope to the hopeless, to the dying, life— One is a Woman, a poor earthly sister; Or, be the Visitant other than she seems,
A guardian Spirit sent from pitying Heaven,
That no one breathing should be left to perish,
Placed in the little boat, then o'er the deep
Are safely borne, landed upon the beach,
Fitly attuned to all that gratitude
NINE-AND-TWENTY knights of fame
Hung their shields in Branksome-Hall;
Nine-and-twenty squires of name
Brought them their steeds to bower from stall;
Waited, duteous, on them all:
They were all knights of mettle true,
Ten of them were sheathed in steel,
They lay down to rest,
Pillowed on buckler cold and hard;
They carved at the meal
With gloves of steel,
And they drank the red wine through the helmet barred.
Ten squires, ten yeomen, mail-clad men,
Waited the beck of the warders ten;
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
THE fowls of heaven,
Tamed by the cruel season, crowd around
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is;